Author Archives: From Poverty to Power

Bad Aid: How a World Bank private financing scheme is bleeding a nation’s health system dry

So much for the theory, here’s a bit of grim aid practice (and some top advocacy) to end aid week here on the blog. Lehlohonolo Chefa, Director of the Lesotho Consumer Protection Association (LCPA) reflects on a week when his organization’s report on a disastrous health experiment in his count…

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Will this week’s aid and development gabfest in Mexico be just another boring conference or a…

It’s aid week here on the blog. To kick off, Oxfam policy adviser Nicola McIvor sets the scene for a big international conference in Mexico. Tomorrow and Wednesday, Angus Deaton and I have an argument about whether aid helps or harms development. Who knows, you may even get to vote. The development …

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What about the 1 in 7? Important progress in getting DFID (and other donors) to get serious on…

Disability campaigners Mosharraf Hossain and Julia Modern on a new report on disability and development Back in 1988, I was denied a job in the Bangladesh civil service. This wasn’t because I didn’t have the skills to do the job – I had a Masters in Economics from the University of Dhaka – but becau…

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What’s the future role and structure of aid and aid donors? Some options

Yesterday saw the announcement that foreign aid has defied economic and political gravity and reached a record high of $135bn in 2013. The news came as I headed off for a fascinating discussion on reforming the aid system at the ODI. Under Chatham House rules alas, so no names or institutions (ODI g…

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Now that’s what I call transformation: Latin America then and now, and Tony Benn RIP

For those of you yet to join the twitterati, here are two images that went viral when I tweeted them recently. First up, the presidents of Brazil, Argentina and Chile, now v 1970s (h/t @rabble). Amazing, eh? It’s actually a bit messier than that- the three military dudes are all Chilean (Messr…

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How does emigration affect countries-of-origin? Paul Collier kicks off a debate on migration

Take a seat people, you’re in for a treat. Paul Collier kicks off an exchange with Justin Sandefur on that hottest of hot topics, migration. I’ve asked them to focus on the impact on poor countries, as most of the press debate concentrates on the impact in the North. Justin replies tomorrow and (if …

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Q: How many people is one rich man worth? A: 6.3 million. Extreme Inequality in the UK

Following his uber killer fact paper (assets of world’s 85 richest individuals = 3.5 billion poorest) Ricardo Fuentes (@rivefuentes) turns his jaundiced but numerate gaze to the UK (and triggers another media splash – see end for links) Economic inequality is much talked about these days. Two …

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Research → Policy; understanding NGO failures and trying to be funny on inequality:…

I’ve been meeting some impressive students this week. Last night I was at a very swanky dinner organized  by the LSE Student Society of its massive International Development department (rising to 300 uber-capable one year Masters students). Tricky gig – how do you make the topic (inequality) f…

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W(h)ither Democracy; Latin American progress; China’s tobacco problem and poor world cancer;…

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Should I be worried about how much I enjoy The Economist? I get some stick from colleagues, who reckons it is surreptitiously dripping neoliberal poison into my formerly socialist soul. But it’s just so good! On a good week, there are half a dozen must-read articles on development-related issues, wh…

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The Great Escape, Angus Deaton’s big new book: Brilliant on inequality and politics, but…

Ricardo Fuentes (@rivefuentes) reviews The Great Escape, Angus Deaton’s big (and controversial) new book on development. A long time ago, while finishing my college degree at CIDE in Mexico, I started working with the different editions of the Mexican Household Income and Expenditure Survey. I was a…

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What do White House Policy Makers want from Researchers? Important survey findings.

Interesting survey of US policymakers in December’s International Studies Quarterly journal. I’m not linking to it because it’s gated, thereby excluding more or less everyone outside a traditional academic institution (open data anyone?) but here’s a draft of What Do Policymakers Want From Us?, by P…

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World Protests 2006-13: Where? How big? About what? Did they achieve anything?

Following on from last week’s food riots post, some wider context. The news is full of protests (Kiev, Caracas, Cairo), but to what extent is it really ‘all kicking off everywhere’ as Paul Mason claims? Just come across a pretty crude, but thought-provoking paper that tries to find out. For Wo…

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What do we know about food riots and their link to food rights? Some interesting new findings…

Went off to a rain-drenched Institute of Development Studies last week for one of those great workshops where a group of country researchers come together with case studies on a similar issue and then swap ideas on what general conclusions are emerging. The topic was the rash of food riots that stru…

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The Aid trilemma: are complexity, scale and measurability mutually incompatible?

I’ve been reflecting on Owen Barder’s recent post on the tensions for aid agencies between wanting to go to scale, and acknowledging that lasting development solutions have to emerge from discussions among local actors, based on local context. Seems to me we have something of an aid trilemma here &#…

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